Hi all,

I'm thinking of moving from Queens to Northern Virginia. I haven't yet specified an area, depends on where I can find an apartment.

But I guess I'm wondering how to handle finding an apartment from afar and not having a car, how do people handle that part of it?

Of course I have my dream cars, but could go for something cheap that works just to have one. But I'm wondering if people go to their new spot and stay in a hotel, rent a car and search for an apartment, get the apartment, go home, move, come back and rent a car until they are able to buy one?

I REALLY want to move out of here but I guess I'm stuck spinning my wheels thinking about HOW to actually accomplish all of this on my own.

Thanks for any insight you can provide!


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Hey Cathi - good question! When my husband and I left NYC, our plan was to drive around the country trying out several places, so we knew we had to have a car before we left. We bought ours in Atlanta (where my husband is from) because the idea of shopping for a car in New York just seemed too overwhelming. We did research on what kind of car we wanted, then spent 3 days in Atlanta test driving them and bought one. (We needed something that could haul a lot of stuff for our long trip, so we got a Volvo XC Wagon. A word of warning: Do not buy a European car! The cost of parts is out of this world, and very few mechanics were qualified to repair it.)

Then we drove it back to New York and had it there for a couple months before we left. Of course, that was a pain in the ass because we had to park it, move it on street cleaning days, etc. 

I would think you would want to look for a place to live before you get there, because otherwise you could end up in a hotel for a loooong time.

When we finally landed where we decided to stay, we drove up to New York, got our stuff out of storage and into a moving truck, and then drove both back to Asheville. But you could also fly up and drive back. 

Thanks for the advice about not getting a European car! Unfortunately I can't afford to get the car and insure it while I'm here in NYC so I'll have get it when I'm there.

Hi Cathi,


I just moved from Brooklyn to Asheville. I planned my move date one month before Christmas and used the holiday break to go apartment hunting. I didn't need to do an overnight hotel; I did most of my research and phone calls before I even did the visit. I found some connections through New York friends (and I'm sure finding Northern Virginia connections would be even easier), and they recommended a few realtors. The trick here is that not all realtors have much of a web presence, so I had to make a lot of phone calls.


My family doesn't live far from NC, so they helped me out with the car situation. I flew into Kentucky, borrowed a car from my mom, and drove to NC. I found an apartment in just a few hours, but again, I did a lot of research and made a lot of phone calls leading up to my visit. I had the entire day planned with appointments.


If you're considering Northern Virginia near DC, you won't have any problems with a car since the Metro line goes along many parts of that and cabs are not too hard to come by. (I know this because I also used to live in Alexandria, VA, so let me know if you have questions about that area.)


Hope that helps!


Thanks, Alexandria is in the basic area so I may hit you up for advice!

This isn't particularly helpful, but I leaned on a really good friend of mine that just happened to work at an auto body shop, so she had a lead on a VERY cheap Honda I could buy. Like, under-500 bucks cheap. Anyway, she was also helpful by setting aside a couple hours a day to look at apts with me.

I'm not sure what my plan would be if I didn't have a good friend with a vested interest in my wife and I moving out to Seattle. I would probably look up the rates at Enterprise and take it one step at a time. They usually have neighborhood locations with decent weekly rates. Figure one week for trying to find an apt and one week the week you move, so you can drive around to used car lots, etc. 

Without family or friends to stay with, the plan you laid out is basically the way to go. Apartment-hunting outside of NYC isn't the daunting nightmare you may be thinking about. Buildings have amenities, manager offices, easy leases, etc. And car rentals aren't that crazy expensive either. Just got to set your budget and go for it!

Thanks, I do have a friend in that are but I can't rely on him for a place to stay and TOO much help but I think he'll be able to check out some areas with me and maybe help in the car area!

Hey Cathi - just wanted to check in and see how you're doing. Did you make a move, and if so, how did you pull off all of the logistics?

Hi Anna,

Nope, I'm still trapped in NY. Haven't really been able to figure anything out or get any help so rethinking what to do about it. Hopefully someday...

Just came back to the site after a long time. I was able to repair the credit my now ex had ruined, got the divorce to come through (thanks Queens County for dragging it out over 18 months), took a trip for a week to Northern VA, bought a car, got approved for my new apartment, and exactly one month from today I'll be in my amazing new apartment in my new town, getting settled in. So, though it may take longer to escape than you want, it CAN happen. Hang in there and tackle issues as you can and then maybe some day, suddenly, everything will fall into place :)

Cathi - This is great news! Congratulations on moving ahead with your goals. Sounds like it's been quite a journey :)


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